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A silence fell over the bar as the opening lyrics appeared on the screen.

Whitney held her breath. Trent’s gaze was straight on her as he sang Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know.” And sounded amazing.

Not that it mattered. In that moment, he could have completely butchered one of her favorite songs and she wouldn’t have cared. She couldn’t take her eyes off him as he sang the lyrics straight to her heart.

This was it. The moment she’d been waiting for. She knew this was his way of finally telling her how he was feeling. And he was doing it with flair.

She’d known for months that she was in love with him, and to know he felt the same made her heart soar.

Next to her, Jessica swooned as she squeezed Whitney’s hand. “I knew you two were perfect for each other,” she whispered excitedly.

Her best friend was so right. They were perfect together. Over the past year, their connection had only grown more and more. The more she learned about him, the more she liked and admired him. He was self-made and motivated to succeed. Hard-working and driven, with a soft, compassionate side and a deep love for family and the people close to him.

Whitney couldn’t erase the smile from her face while he sang, keeping the entire bar captive in the intimate moment.

That night, after the bar closed and they were all alone, he took her into his arms. Her heart was beating so loud, echoing against her chest. She was sure he had to hear it in the now quiet bar.

“You were really great up there tonight,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. He’d been busy since he’d walked off the stage, so they really hadn’t had time to talk. But all night, her mind had raced about what the gesture had meant. What she’d wanted it to mean. And whenever her gaze caught his across the room, it only became more evident how she felt about him.

His face flushed a little as he lowered his gaze. “I, uh…j-just wanted to tell you…” he stammered, and she placed her hands on the sides of his face and smiled, staring into his eyes.

“I know. I love you, too.”

Chapter Ten


She’d missed Trent’s birthday.

Panic seized her chest when Whitney saw the date on her desk calendar the next day. She massaged her temples and took a deep breath. How could she have missed it? As forgetful as she was, she’d never missed a birthday before. She’d been so preoccupied with everything the day before that she hadn’t even registered what day it was. She’d been at the office until almost midnight the night before, and Trent had been asleep when she’d gotten home. He hadn’t even stirred when she’d slipped into bed next to him a little after one a.m.

How could she make this up to him?

Of course, he’d say it wasn’t a big deal. But birthdays were special to the two of them. They always tried to outdo each other with a nice evening planned and the perfect gift. The last couple of years, they’d barely acknowledged the days, but they’d at least acknowledged it.

She couldn’t text or call to apologize. She needed to do something meaningful. Make an effort to show him that he did matter to her, more than anything else in the world, despite her insensitivity the day before.

He truly did, and she was desperate to figure things out.

Not desperate enough, a nagging voice said in her mind as her gaze fell to the medical requisition form from Dr. Kyle still sitting in her open desk drawer. She’d yet to schedule the appointments at the local clinic. She had to soon. She couldn’t keep putting it off, but a paralyzing fear of the results was making it impossible to make the call. What if things were even worse than she thought? There was at least some comfort in not knowing.

Logging onto her calendar, she scanned the to-do items on today’s long list and struggled with the conflicting sense of obligation and commitment to her job and to her health and to her relationship. Something had to give. Right now, she was looking for a way to focus on Trent, allow him to be the priority. If she worked until six, they could still go to dinner somewhere. It wasn’t enough, but hopefully he’d accept the peace offering.

Picking up her phone, she texted:

How about dinner tonight?

Unlike when he textedher, his reply was immediate:

Would love to butcan’t tonight. Football practice, then wings with the team.

It was Trent and Wes’s tradition to take the boys out for wings after every practice. Team building and morale off the field made for a solid unity on the field. She admired his commitment to not only training the kids to be better football players but giving them a source of support they may not get elsewhere.

A few dots that meant he was texting…then:

You could join us.

When was the last time she’d gone to the field to watch him coach? Or hung out with him without a set reservation or having to schedule it in? Practice was at seven, so that actually gave her an extra hour than she’d been planning to have if he’d been available for dinner. She glanced at the calendar, mentally calculating how long each item would take. If she worked straight through lunch, she could do it. Get everything done and be out the door at 6:45.

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